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Season’s Greetings, my fellow fitness friends! I hope your year has been filled with happiness and glute gains.  It’s time for the December edition of Random Thoughts from yours truly.

1. Next Glute Lab Seminars: January 14 & February 11

The first of the 2017 Glute Lab Seminars have been scheduled (in Phoenix, AZ) for January 14, 2017 and February 11, 2017. The cost is $399 and there are 3 remaining seats available for January and 16 for February. First come, first served.

About the seminar:

In the morning, I will lecture on the science of glute training and program design. You will receive a PDF of the slideshow, which I update each month to include all the latest research. All of my past attendees receive a new pdf every time it is updated.

After a catered lunch, we will then have a learn-by-doing practical where I will showcase the mechanics, cueing, variations, and progressions of glute bridges, hip thrusts, squats, deadlifts, back extensions, split squats, hip abduction exercises, and more.

To finish the day, we’ll have a Q and A, we’ll take some fun pictures, and you’ll receive some free gifts (Ares Sports Rub and Squat Sponge recently stepped up and sent me some merchandise). You will leave much more confident and knowledgeable about your glute training and strength training in general. My attendees are always happy with their decision to attend.

If you’d like to sign up for this event or get a bit more information, please contact Maleah at

february11gls2. New Master’s Thesis: Effects of 6-week Squat, Deadlift, and Hip Thrust Training Programs on Speed, Power, Agility, and Strength in Experienced Lifters

Micheal Zweifel, S & C coach, athlete, and owner of Building Better Athletes, published THIS master’s thesis examining the effect of squats, deadlifts, and hip thrusts on performance and strength.

There weren’t enough participants (26 athletes split into 4 groups) to achieve statistical significance, however, this makes for great pilot research. In fact, I don’t like the way this thesis had to be written up since it’s really a pilot study, and inferential statistics should not be used, as the likelihood of committing type I and II errors are extremely high (people can be fooled into thinking there’s an actual effect when there isn’t one, or into thinking there’s no effect when there actually is one).

There isn’t enough data to provide strong evidence to draw conclusions. I am looking forward to future studies on the topic with ample sample sizes to determine whether or not squats are best for squats and agility performance, deadlifts for deadlifts and vertical jump, and hip thrusts for hip thrusts, acceleration, and horizontal jump.  You can download a PDF of the paper HERE or at the abstract link above.


3. More Absolutely Incredible Testimonials

What has always set me apart from the competition are my superior testimonials and before/after pictures. Some folks claim to know a lot about glute training, but where is the evidence of their methods? Below are two masterpieces of evidence that I received just this week.

The first comes from Roxy Winstanley Bikini Athlete, and she just might be my Mona Lisa. Check out the amazing testimonial she sent me!

This might be my favorite testimonial to date. Some serious bootification from @roxywinstanley! ———————– I first started weight training in 2013. After suffering from bulimia in my early 20s, my body shape was pretty pencil like. I did a lot of cardio, so I really did have a pancake bum! When I started training with weights when I was 25, I noticed I had pretty strong legs for a girl and I was soon squatting over 100kgs and leg pressing 400kg. My bum grew slightly but it was my legs that were getting huge. When I competed for the first time in November 2013, I noticed a girl with amazing glutes. I asked her how she had managed to grow her booty so much – she just said "Google Bret Contreras and thank me later." And since then I've never looked back. I bought the Strong Curves book, downloaded the Advanced Technique PDF and stalked Bret's Instagram daily. Three years later, I have a pretty sizeable booty. I think it's about 7 inches in total in 3 1/2 years that I've managed to put on my bum. I've gone from a 36 inch booty to a 42/43 inch booty. I am quad dominant so all his workouts are brilliant. Frog hip thrusts have become my new best friend – I do them constantly!! I have PBd at 200kg for 2 reps on barbell hip thrusts and I swear by this exercise for developing glutes! I get a lot of compliments on my ass now but I am constantly working on improving it. I train glutes 3/4 times a week and will always incorporate Bret's training and methods. Whenever anyone asks about how I have grown my glutes, I point them in his direction!!! I am forever thankful for finding him on social media! My bodyshape has completely changed and I absolutely love having a good booty!!! #gluteguy

A photo posted by Bret Contreras, PhD (@bretcontreras1) on

And the second comes from Melissa Crowther – Enduring Fitness, who is also a contender for my best transformation pic to date.

These testimonials make it all worth it!!! #Repost @enduringfitness with @repostapp ・・・ Now this is a #humpday pic of a different kind. My glute transformation. I'm usually a little hesitant to post glute photos, even more so with this one as it's a little uncomfortable for me to look back at what had caused me to be so insecure for so many years. 🙈 I'm not even sure when the first photo was taken, I estimate 15 years ago! But this is my glutes in a relatively non-trained state. I say relatively because I actually did work out back then. But there was no specific glute training aside from the usual leg day girly squats and lunges. We never had the information we have now on glute training thanks to people like Glute Guy @bretcontreras1 out there doing the research on this intriguing and complex muscle. Changing my body and glutes so much has truly changed my life for the better! Most of my transformation has actually been in the last 5 years. There are no photos on my glutes in existence from 5 years ago but I'm pretty sure they looked just like the first photo above! And it's why I never wore bikinis. How times have changed! People have said I'm just genetically lucky to have round glutes. Hmm… think again! It's been hard, hard work. I hope this will inspire you girls out there to never give up on your training. I always promote hard work, patience, persistence. The road to success will not always be easy, but it will be worth it. 💖💖💖 #humpdaypic #humpdaytransformation #fitchicks #fitnessgurl #fitbodies #fitnessmodel #abs #iggirl #ifbb #ifbbbikini #igfit #instalike #instafit #girlsthatlift #bootybuilding #bootybuilder #bubblebutt #glutetraining #fitnessmotivation #fitlife #girlswithmuscle #picoftheday #photooftheday #girlsthatlift #iifym #enduringfitness

A photo posted by Bret Contreras, PhD (@bretcontreras1) on

Big thanks to these beautiful ladies for sending me credit, even though they did all the hard work. Receiving feedback like this makes it all worth it!

4. Most Liked Instagram Post to Date

Last month, I shared a post on Instagram, and I was surprised to find that it received more likes than anything I’ve posted to date. Life is too short to wait around for things to happen, so I believe in taking a proactive approach to living a life of success and well being. The photo below represents my greatest accomplishments. If you are on the fence about pursuing a dream or goal,  I wholeheartedly encourage you to go for it.  You won’t regret it.

I hope this post inspires some of you. I'm 40 years old and still don't know what I want to be and do when I grow up. But along the way, while trying to figure it out, I've never stopped working and never slowed down. If you're wondering whether or not to go for a certification or an advanced degree, or to open up a gym, or to invent something, or to write a book, or to create a comprehensive system, you gotta do it. Life is too short to waste, so strive to be extraordinary. I've never taken a course that didn't teach me something new. I've never regretted going the extra mile or taking the path less travelled. What we do in one stage of our lives prepares us for the next stage. This wall represents my greatest accomplishments to date. Top row: high school diploma, bachelor's degree, master's degree, PhD, doctoral thesis, first book – Strong Curves, second book – Bodyweight Strength Training Anatomy. Bottom row: hip thrust patent, Skorcher and Lifts trademarks, Arizona teacher certificate, EMT certificate, first NSCA CSCS certificate, first personal trainer certificate – ACE, first magazine cover photoshoot – Scottsdale Health, Glute Lab named as a top 20 gym in the US – Men's Health. I don't know where I'll be or what I'll be doing in 20 more years, but I can guarantee you that more accomplishments will be added to this wall. Get out there and make things happen. Build your own wall. #gluteguy

A photo posted by Bret Contreras, PhD (@bretcontreras1) on

5. How Does BC Warm Up?

Readers often ask about my warm up routine so I thought I would share. Although I’m well versed in hundreds of stretches, mobility drills, activation drills, and self myofasical release, I tend to take a pared down approach to warming up. I have found through much trial and error over the years what works best for me. Give some of these drills a try but also do your own experimentation and research to find what will work best for you.

Many of you wanted to know what my general lower body warm-up entailed. Here it is. Nothing sexy. I roll through the exercises twice. Takes me under 10 min and I'm ready to rock and roll. I'm well-versed in the hundreds of excellent static stretches, dynamic mobility drills, activation drills, and self-myofasical release techniques, but I've found that this is precisely what I need to get the job done so I can start tossing around some weight. Your warm-up will likely be different from mine. I do not recommend that you follow this exact protocol; you should figure out your ideal protocol. I use @aressportsrub as it's my favorite – I don't make any money by promoting it, I just really like it. After this, I begin performing specific warm up sets for the first exercise of the day. #gluteguy #glutelab

A video posted by Bret Contreras, PhD (@bretcontreras1) on

6. Top Ten Most Popular Bikini Competitor Glute Exercises

I have a feeling that my female following will be particularly interested in this, but lads, take note. I incorporate many of these exercises into my own workouts.  These aren’t all my personal favorites but I do indeed program many of these into my personal client and my Strong by Bret workouts. In retrospect, I wish that I had instead included the step down off the assisted pull-up machine and the sideways single leg leg press, but this is still a good list.

7. 60-Second Maximum Bench Press Tutorial

Check out this quick bench press tutorial. Pretty opposite of the typical BC demonstration, don’t you think? Stay tuned for more 60-second tutorials in the near future and give these tips a try for a successful max bench press.

8. Huge Props to Men’s Health Magazine

I wish someone would sue Beach Body for their fraudulent depiction of the gluteal anatomy in their Brazilian Butt Lift infomercials. I first wrote about this atrocity in July of 2013 HERE, where I showed two pictures that to this day get circulated all over the Internet. They fabricated the anatomy of the glutes to sell more product, which is intolerable.

Anyway, in this month’s (December, 2016) Men’s Health issue, they posted a proper image of the gluteals (see below), in addition to an image of a properly performed hip thrust. Kudos to MH for getting it right and putting out correct information instead of pseudoscientific marketing bullshit!

9. Does Strength Training Change Your Movement Patterns? – Chris Beardsley

Can a typical off-the-peg training program improve your movement patterns without additional input from foam rolling, stretching, specialized exercises, or expert advice?  Chris Beardsley examines the research and answers this question HERE.

10. Does Strength Training Build Stronger Bones? -Rory Heath

Recent estimates suggest that up to 30% of men and even more women will suffer from an osteoporosis-related fracture in their lifetime (Mojock et al. 2016). In THIS Strength and Conditioning Research article, Rory Heath explores the relationship between strength training, bone mass density, and healthy ageing.

11. What is the Best Rep Range for Muscle Strength and Size? – Brad Schoenfeld

The bros may indeed be right on this one. In THIS new blog post, super smart guy Brad Schoenfeld shares the findings of his recently published study and breaks down the practical implications of heavy versus moderate load training.

Hypertrophy Specialist Brad Schoenfeld

12. Load/Force Vectors: The Missing Link To Your Training – James de Lacey

Load/force vector training is a concept that I introduced in my glute eBook and investigated in my recent study titled, Effects of a six-week hip thrust versus front squat resistance training program on performance in adolescent males: A randomized-controlled trial.” THIS article by fellow AUT University colleague James de Lacey does an excellent job of explaining this concept and why you should be tailoring your training program to your sports specific movements.


13. When Is Spinal Pain Less About The Spine? – Dr. Kieran O’Sullivan

HERE is an excellent presentation by Dr. Kieran O’Sullivan discussing the physical and psychological components of pain and the perception of pain and injury. I disagree with Kieran on one minor point pertaining to glute activation, but Keiran is a stellar researcher and you will likely learn a lot from watching this video.

14. Five Years Of Hamstring Injury Research In 25 Minutes – Dr. David Opar

THIS is another awesome selection from the Aspetar’s Tuesday Lecture Series.  In this lecture, Dr. David Opar gives a quick, yet thorough 36-minute presentation of the current and future hamstring injury research. I was highly impressed with David Opar’s presentation abilities.

15. Don’t Just Squat and Deadlift for Glutes

As I’ve written before HERE and HERE, if you want glutes, you have to do more than just squat. I stumble across a lot of bikini competitor (with amazing glute development) posts on Instagram, and there’s a common theme. They all incorporate a ton of variety in their glute training and they don’t what they feel works best for them which they discovered through trial and error. For example, read what Christina and Aline recently wrote below.

16. Infographics Galore!

Make sure you’re following Chris Beardsley on Instagram for daily educational infographics. If you take the time to read and reflect upon each of these posts, it will greatly improve your knowledge and understanding of the science of strength & conditioning.

17. No Eye Contact During Hip Thrusts!

“It’s a marvelous lift, but you never, ever make eye contact. Period.” – Dan McKim, 4X World Champion Scottish Highland Games

18. Some Bridges Need Not Be Crossed

Needing to meet your daily WTF quota? Click to the 46-second mark of this video to see an, er, interesting take on glute bridging. Just be sure to use better form, or better yet try out my personal favorite variation. Serious creeps out there LOL!


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